SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor posted a 21 percent drop in first-quarter profits yesterday, hammered by the fallout from a diplomatic spat between Seoul and Beijing over a US missile defense system.
In a statement, Hyundai said it posted 1.46 trillion won (US$1.3 billion) in net profits during the January to March period, its 13th consecutive quarter of profit downturn.
“Partial suspensions at factories increased cost burdens while bigger marketing fees were spent to overcome the global economic slowdown,” the company said.
The firm said it recorded strong sales in emerging markets like Russia and Brazil but added that “weak demand” by Chinese consumers resulted in a drop in overseas sales.
Sales in China plunged 44 percent last month. Beijing has been infuriated by the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the South and has imposed a series of measures seen as economic retaliation.
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